Will working six hours instead of eight be better for everyone? Sweden thinks so, and the entire country is actually switching to a 6-hour work day. And there are a few very compelling reasons why you should switch, too.
The Benefits of Shorter Working Hours
Despite all the productivity we’ve gained through technology, people have been working harder than ever. The extra hours are taking its toll though, with workers feeling more fatigued, irritable and stressed to the point of burn-out. Rolling back a couple of hours in the work day might just be the solution.
- More focus. When you have less time to get things done, you can feel a positive pressure to perform. You spend less time on distractions and more on the task at hand.
- Less stress. A couple of hours off from work means more hours spent with things and people you love. It also means more hours sleeping in and pleasantly avoiding that rush hour commute.
- Happier people. If everyone is busy, there’s no time for gossip or office politics. This also means that work gets done faster, which provides that small happy dopamine boost whenever you complete a task.
- Healthier staff. One study showed that people who work 55 hours a week had a 33% greater risk of stroke versus those who worked 35-40 hours. They also had a 13% increased risk of heart disease and decreased mental health.
Will Shorter Working Hours Work For You?
While there are a heap of benefits to a six-hour work day, you still need to assess if switching to it works for you. While your employees might have shorter hours, your customers still need to be served during regular hours. This means you have to weigh the cost of hiring new people to cover those extra hours versus the productivity boost of a shorter work day.
Another solution is to offer flexible schedules to your staff. Research shows that people who have control over their schedules report the same benefits as a shorter work day. They have lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction.
If you want to try this out and see the benefits for yourself, you can give your staff a six-hour work day for a week. If you find no dip in productivity, extend the experiment to a month.
A six-hour work day certainly has a lot of key benefits. But if you want to make it work for your company, it’s best to test the waters first and measure whether shorter working hours will have a positive impact on your team’s productivity.
If you’re eager to try out a shorter work day, here are a few tips to make it work.